HOUSTON – The Texas Tech Red Raiders (8-1) dropped a heartbreaker to the Rice Owls, 25-17, 21-25, 15-25, 25-18, 12-15, on Sunday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse to conclude the Adidas Invitational.
In the match, fifth-year senior Karrington Jones became the third Red Raider on the team to reach the 500 kills milestone after she recorded seven slams against Rice. She also added four blocks, four digs and two aces.
Senior Kenna Sauer and junior Reese Rhodes each collected double-doubles on the day after Sauer tallied 21 kills and 11 digs and Rhodes posted 45 assists and 15 digs.
Senior Reagan Cooper totaled 12 kills, five digs and three blocks, while Brooke Kanas led the team with five blocks of her own. Sophomore libero Maddie Correa had a career day after collecting 25 digs. Graduate KJ Adams also joined in on the double-digit digs with 11.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Tech started on an early, 3-0 run thanks to blocks by O’Brien and Kanas, a kill from Cooper and an error on the Owls. Rice would get one point back on a kill, then the Red Raiders again scored three in a row to force a timeout. Leading 9-6, Tech picked up three more quick points highlighted by a block and two aces from Jones. A 4-0 run ensued at 16-10 when O’Brien slammed one down, then Tech would claim the set with a score of 25-17 on a kill by Cooper.
The Red Raiders got things going in the second set, taking an 8-3 lead. But, the Owls kept clawing their way back and eventually tied it at 9-9 on a kill from Anota Adekunle. Tech earned three quick points on a kill from Rhodes and a solo block and kill from Kanas. Back-and-forth play followed as Rice would take a 20-19 lead. Cooper would come back and put down a kill to tie it at 20-all, then Rhodes served an ace to force a Rice timeout. The Red Raiders went up 21-20, but the Owls would finish the set on a 5-0 run to win it by a score of 25-21.
Both teams began the third set tied up at 4-4, before Tech went on to lead 7-5 with a block from Rhodes and a kill from O’Brien. Rice would tie things up at 12-12, then keep things rolling as they were able to hold on to the lead for the remainder of the set and win by a score of 25-15.
The Red Raiders and Owls went back-and-forth to start the set, tying it at 6-6 on a Rhodes kill. All tied up at 9-9, a big kill from Kanas would spark a 3-0 run as Tech took a 12-9 lead. A 5-1 run, highlighted by a kill from Kanas and a solo block from Cooper, forced the Owls to call a timeout as Tech had a 14-10 advantage. With a 20-14 lead, the Red Raiders would get kills from Cooper and O’Brien to force a fifth and final set with a score of 25-18.
Tech and Rice traded points at the beginning of the fifth set, ultimately tying it up at 4-4. Tech would earn two-consecutive points on kills from Sauer and Cooper, but Rice would go on a 4-0 run to lead 8-6. Tech kept fighting back, eventually cutting into the Owls’ lead at 12-11. But, Rice would win three of the next four points to claim the set and match, 15-12.
· Texas Tech tied its season-high with 58 kills.
· Two Red Raiders posted double-doubles in the match… Kenna Sauer had 21 kills and 11 digs while Reese Rhodes had 45 assists and a career-high 15 digs.
· Senior Reagan Cooper tallied double-digit kills with 12.
· Sophomore Maddie Correa collected a career-high 25 digs in the match.
· Four players – Correa, Sauer, Rhodes and KJ Adams – all had double-digit dig performances.
Texas Tech hosts the Red Raider Classic on Sept. 15-17 and will welcome SMU, Oral Roberts, UTRGV and Arizona State to Lubbock.
(Courtesy: Texas Tech Sports Communications Department)